During the winter months, cold outside weather combined with dry indoor heat can wreak havoc on your strands, leading to split ends and breakage. That’s right: Breakage isn’t just a summertime sadness. It happens in winter, and to all manner of hair types. In order to have a fabulous mane all year long, there are a few precautions you should take throughout the year.
Plaques of skin can smother the scalp, not only causing itch and flakes, but smothering growth as well. Jon Reyman, owner of Spoke & Weal Salons, recommends lightening up on the cleansing. Reyman also suggests watching your diet and managing stress as good solutions for scalp concerns.
Blasts of dry air are not good for any type of hair. The only way to combat it: extra moisture. “Natural, curly, wavy, relaxed, and coiled hair is sensitive to cold weather, when it’s prone to brittle texture, breakage, and split ends,” explains Ron Williams, national educator for Phytospecific, who suggests using a heavier-than-usual oil-based moisturizer that will evaporate more slowly to protect textured hair.
Dry air also means all hair textures should focus on weekly hair treatments to replace lost moisture. “Hair dries out in winter from not having enough moisture in the indoor air, which is when a good conditioner comes in handy,” advises James Corbett, owner of James Corbett Studio and global color consultant for Clairol, who recommends using the brand’s new color-specific Nice n’ Easy CC+ ColorSeal Conditioner. “Once a week, you should baby your hair: Slather conditioner on and take 30 minutes for the moisture to penetrate into the hair shaft.”
Floating, fine strands are a common occurrence during winter, which Corbett says is a key sign of dryness. Corbett advises that, instead of the static guard/dryer sheet route, be sure hair is hydrated with regular conditioning, then lock it in with a leave-in conditioner.
According to Corbett, this might be a good time to dial down blonde ambition. “Anytime you can switch off is good. Platinum is awesome, but it’s so incredibly damaging for the hair.” He advises leaving the roots a little darker and applying a demipermanent hue until the weather is kinder. “That way, it washes out, and the process won’t be that detrimental when you’re ready to go back to platinum again.”
Williams also advises paring back on chemical straighteners. “Limit the amount of chemicals applied to the hair, which will improve moisture levels and decrease breakage. If not, use gentler products, and always see a professional for application.”
All that heat and dryness will result in split ends and breakage. Corbett advises avid use of heat protection, including leave-in conditioners, to prevent breakage. Try Klorane Leave-in Cream with Papyrus Milk. Also try protective styles, such as braids, buns, twists, and ponytails, which give hair time off from the heat routine.
This post originally appeared on SELF